A View From Above

A View From Above

One of the things that immediately connected Maithil and I when we first met was our love for travelling and exploring new places. If our jobs/lives allowed for it, we would ideally take a one to two week vacation at least once every season. In the meantime, we keep a running list of places we’d love to visit. Daydreaming is the first step to making your desires a reality, right? These breathtaking images help me see some of my favorite cities in a whole new light, especially #3, #14, #21, and #27.They make me want to pack my bags and jump on a plane. But, I guess I’ll have to wait until Rian is a bit older! (Also, how amazing are these airport aerial views.)

Image from The San Francisco Globe

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Vegetarians in NYC

Vegetarians in NYC

The great city of New York has no shortage of restaurants. You can find every kind of cuisine to satisfy your heart’s desire, with the taste level ranging from scrumptious to how are they still in business? But not all of the good ones are vegetarian friendly. And no, having a wonderful salad as the only vegetarian entree option does not count. In this list of NYC’s best vegetarian friendly restaurants by Serious Eats, it is clear that a non-carnivore will have plenty to choose from, be it Indian, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, or any other culture (almost). Some of my favorites from this list include: L’Artusi (this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows us – the spaghetti and the hazelnut torta are out of this world), Taim (the best falafel in town), Saravana Bhavan (haven’t been to the one in Flushing but the Edison, NJ location hits the spot when I am craving authentic South Indian fare, which was a frequent occurrence when I was pregnant), and ABC Kitchen (farm-to-table done right, with a lot of roasting in-between and a side of a celeb sighting if you’re lucky).

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

A few that did not make their list but surely make mine:

Co.: I might even go as far as to say that this is my favorite pizza place. The stracciatella is my current favorite.

Cafe Gitane: Go there for brunch and get these three: the avocado toast, the couscous (add their house made harissa for an extra punch), and the orange blossom waffle. And of course, whatever else piques your fancy.

Caracas Arepa Bar: A Venezuelan staple at its best. Almost all of the warm, sweet and savory arepas can be made vegetarian. The most important topping to any of the arepas? Their “crack” sauce (pictured below). Just try it, you will thank me later.

caracas

Do you have a go-to or a favorite restaurant in NYC? Do share.

Top Image: courtesy of L’Artusi

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Email Addiction

Email Addiction

Being home for maternity leave, at times I feel a bit disconnected from the outside world. Rian is too young to take out everyday and as a result, there are days when I do not have the opportunity to leave the apartment at all. My main form of communication with others is now email or social media and the phone if the time allows for it. Every time I find myself on my phone or computer, I cannot help but check my email (even if I’ve just checked it less than an hour ago). Most of the time, I just have unimportant emails that do not require a response and simply end up in my trash. But still, I cannot shake the compulsion to check, it’s clearly a type of addiction. But come on, you can totally relate as well. You’d be lying if you said no! The flowchart above, by Wendy McNaughton, made me chuckle because it’s spot on. How often do you check your email/facebook/twitter/instagram?

Also, this chart makes me want to get The Best American Infographics 2013.

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Meet Rian

Meet Rian

Meet the newest addition to our family, Rian Desai Patel. He arrived at 8:50pm on March 29, 2014, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces and measuring 20 inches. We are still getting to know each other and with each passing day, our unconditional love for him only multiplies. Rian, meaning king, is lean and long and quite the mover and shaker. He loves showering with us over his whale bathtub. He stares at you like he’s known you for ages. His most joy-inducing trait? His involuntary smiles while he is sleeping. Those make me melt every time and help immensely when I’ve reached the height of my sleep deprivation. Sweet Rian, we feel so lucky and blessed to have you in our lives.

Photo: Rian, day 1, with Maithil

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For All The Working Moms

For All The Working Moms

This working mom’s open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow made my morning. I tend to really like Gwyneth but this is clearly not her shining moment. Perhaps I should give her the benefit of the doubt, with her recent divorce and all. I will soon be a working mom and somehow making millions to shoot a movie (plus not having to really worry about childcare and healthcare) does not even come close to comparing to the day-to-day balancing act of being a “regular” working mom. Gwyneth, the grass does always seem greener on the other side. (But, in this case, I doubt it is.)

Image from Cricket’s Circle

 

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Stop That!

Stop That!

Last night, Maithil and I got to talking about how busy our lives have become. Of course we have visited this topic many times (especially in the midst of a hectic weekend), but we have never outlined actual steps to streamline our to-do lists in an effort to actively manage our stress levels. This week, we are making a manageable priorities list and planning our weekend well in advance. We will only add on last minute events/errands to our weekend list if both of us agree that it is a must. The weekend also has time baked in for some personal, alone time (time to go to the gym, read, etc.). I am curious to see if we are able to stick to our outlined plan and if it helps us feel a little less crazed.

Our conversation also made me realize that at times, stress is self-induced and so many issues can be resolved if we stopped doing things like trying to make things perfect or worrying too much. This list of 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself really helps put things into perspective. There are a few on here that I didn’t even realize that I was doing, though I clearly am.

How do you deal with stress or not having any downtime or time for yourself? Here are 5 simple ways to stay healthy when you are stressed (also great for when you have a newborn/kids, when you have a super busy week/month, when you are travelling, when you are playing catch-up with your schedule).

Photo: The view from our villa in Antigua, our honeymoon destination. Nearly a week of rest, relaxation, and absolutely no stress.

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Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

As a kid, my only reference for a doughnut was Dunkin’ Donuts. I discovered Apple Cider, farm fresh doughnuts when I went apple picking as a high schooler. In college, my doughnut vernacular expanded even more, fully understanding and appreciating the differences between the cake and yeast versions of this treat. In the past couple of years, I have noticed the rise in doughnut varieties, especially in NYC (home of the cronut craze). My favorite spot in the city is Doughnut Plant. They have a slew of yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts, Tres Leches and Blackout being my treats of choice. Although both are cake doughnuts, they are surprisingly airy and moist. Plus, they are free of trans fat, eggs, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colors. Craving one yet? I surely am.

the wall decor

the wall decor

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Blow Dry Like A Pro

Blow Dry Like A Pro

As someone who has grown up with curly hair, I have always been slightly envious of those who have voluminous straight or wavy hair. I have grown to love my curls over the years, especially after I figured out the right products and the right kind of haircut (I’ve suffered through many caret cuts and fought frizz in my quest for the perfect products). One of my favorite beauty guilty pleasures is getting my hair blown out after a haircut or for a special occasion; it always adds a little pep-in-my-step when I leave the salon. My goal is to eventually master the salon blow out at home. Some of my girlfriends who have been straightening their hair since grade school (I remember when flat-ironing was THE thing to do) have their blow dry routine down to a T. But, as a novice, it takes me a few hours and a ton of energy (my arms always feel so tired afterwards). The worst part? It never looks as great as a salon job.

Recently, I came across this tutorial which seems very promising. Plus, how gorgeous is the color of her hair? I am curious to try it to see if my results even come close to this.

Do you have a blow dry routine? What tools and products do you use?

Photo credit: my brother-in-law (at a family party); Hair cut and blow out by Keelin at Glen Goldbaum 72 Salon

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Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate Bark

Fruit and Nut Dark Chocolate Bark

I am a chocolate lover. Dark chocolate to be more specific. Over the holidays, when sweets were plentiful, I made a fruit and nut dark chocolate bark reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood chocolate bars, Cadbury Fruit & Nut. Now, in the midst of my third trimester, at times I crave a piece of this sweet and salty bark creation. Who am I kidding? I’d crave this stuff even if I wasn’t pregnant… but it’s a good excuse to have.

Ingredients:

- 2 bars of good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate)

- handful of roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

- handful of roasted almonds, roughly chopped

- handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped

- sea salt

double boiler chocolate

Method:

Melt the bars of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the liquid goodness onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It will spread on its own, creating a thin layer. Generously sprinkle on the roughly chopped pistachios, almonds, and cranberries followed by a light dusting of sea salt. Let the chocolate cool for a couple of hours. To test if the bark has completely set, break off a small piece from the side, it should break the same way that a bar of chocolate would. Finally, roughly break the remaining chocolate on the cookie sheet. Store in a cool place. These also make for great gifts (wrap some in a clear, small plastic bag and tie with a ribbon or pack some in a metal tin). To make clean up easier, be sure to lick the bowl in the double boiler!

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A Reading List

A Reading List

I am always looking for recommendations for a good read. These days, my reading has been heavily concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, which can be . Just when I was craving a more balanced bookshelf on my tablet, BuzzFeed published their “16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year.” Some of the titles definitely fall under the “just watch the movie” category while others seem like gripping reads. The first of these books on my reading list is The Hundred-Foot JourneyThe choice was rather obvious: the movie stars Helen Mirren and is being produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and the themes includes restaurants, food, Indian culture, french cuisine – what more reasoning could I possibly need? Can’t wait to read the book and then watch the movie.

Second/third on list is a tie between Wild (a soul-searching journey that reminds me Eat, Pray, Love at first glance) which will star Reese Witherspoon and This Is Where I Leave You, which will star Jason Bateman and Tina Fey (the sure to be hilarious cast alone made me want to read the book). What books make your read/watch list?

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